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Vermont Bill Signed, Will Put Progressive Party on Apportionment Board

Published on May 15, 2009, by in General.

On May 12, Vermont Governor Jim Douglas signed S111. It changes the formula that determines which political parties may have a representative on the State Apportionment Board, the body that draws state legislative districts. The old law limited the Board to parties that had polled 25% for Governor in the last election. The new law includes all parties that had at least four state legislators in at least three of the preceding five legislative sessions. The change means that the Progressive Party will be included on the board. It elected six legislators in 2008, six in 2006, and six in 2004.

Although the party’s state chair ran for Governor in 2008 and placed second, his percentage was 21.8%. Also he ran as an independent, so even if he had polled as much as 25%, it wouldn’t have counted for the party, under the old law.

8 Responses

  1. Progressive icon Anthony Pollina ran for Lt. Governor and pulls in 25% of the vote [2002]- the best result of any third-party candidate for statewide office in the United States.

    Instead of running for Lt. Governor and possibly winning, Pointy Headed Pollina insists on an Independent run for the top spot. [After being blind sided by $%@%#$ Vermont Democrats and insuring the continuing unpopular rein of Governor Douglas, the Bull Moose Progressives are on the out side looking in even with a GOP official whom is literally HATED through out the region.]

    If Pollina won the second spot and if Douglas dies, gets an out of state appointment, resigns, get sick, then we have an alternative political state chief executive.

    Room temperature IQs and &#%@^#% Democrats!

  2. Jim Riley

    The change was probably made so that the Democratic party would have membership on the board since their candidate only received 19% of the vote in 2008.

  3. The Democratic Party candidate for Governor did indeed get below 25% in 2008. The Democratic percentage was 21.7%. However, the board doesn’t meet until 2011, and everyone expects the Democrats to get over 25% in the 2010 gubernatorial election.

  4. ETJB

    Sounds like a good idea, although how much weight will the progressive party board member have in how the districts will be drawn up?

    Will the Democrat and GOP board member unite to outvote him? Or what?

  5. Demo Rep

    NO gerrymander boards / commissions are needed.

    Total Votes / Total Seats = EQUAL votes needed for each seat winner.

  6. Jim Riley

    #4 In 2007, would everyone have expected the Democrat gubernatorial candidate to get under 25% in 2008?

  7. Jim Riley

    #5 It appears that the apportionment board is just the starting point, which then goes through the legislature. Also the head of the board is a special master appointed by the Supreme Court.

    The Vermont legislature web site has a bunch of maps showing the districts proposed at various stages of the legislative process, and at least at a quick glance, the maps in the legislature didn’t look anything like those proposed by the apportionment board.

    This was particularly true in the senate, where the apportionment board approved a somewhat traditional map which was based nominally on counties, with some adjustments for population balance, with from 1 to 6 senators elected at large from each district. A House committee proposed 15 equal population districts each electing two members. It appears that the senate plan that was finally approved was one that was stuck as an amendment into some other legislation.

    Vermont has a small population (about 600,000) and a relatively large House (150 members), so each representative only represents about 4000 persons (representatives are elected from a combination of one and two-member districts). So the starting point is agglomerating towns into groups with around 4000 or 8000 people.

    There is also apparently a role for local authorities for redistricting within cities or larger towns Burlington, Winooski, and South Burlington together have 15 representatives, that are elected from 10 districts, 5 two-member districts and 5 one-member district.

    Probably the biggest opportunity for gerrymandering is in deciding whether to use two-member or one-member districts.

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